Review: Original Ergo Carrier

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By Tracy G. Cassels

There are lots of infant carriers on the market, but there are certain things that distinguish them and make comparisons almost impossible.  For example, while some wraps can be used easily inside and out, some carriers really seem designed for outside use.  The Ergo falls into this category.  As such, I won’t compare it to a woven wrap or a Moby as we’re really looking at apples and oranges here – both fruit, but they are different with different purposes and fill different needs.  The Ergo is more akin to the Bjorn, but in my opinion, is far superior, and here’s why…

First and foremost, the Ergo is NOT a baby dangler.  What does this mean?  It means that, unlike the Bjorn, the infant does not dangle, providing no real hip and butt support.  This is important because there are negative consequences to baby’s forming hips from being in the dangling position.  However, the Ergo in and of itself is not suitable for a very young infant.  This is why they have infant inserts which you can purchase separately or buy as a combo pack.  The insert is like a stool that the infant can sit on while his or her legs go to either side of mom, again, avoiding the baby dangling.

The second bonus is the hip strap.  This was critical for me as I had been in a car accident prior to being pregnant and have had back problems since.  The Bjorn, which carries all the weight in the shoulder area, would have left me crippled after 20 minutes of walking.  The Ergo, however, allowed for the weight to be better distributed, meaning I could go longer.  Notably though, even the Ergo does not compare to the comfort of a wrap in terms of weight displacement, something I am acutely aware of.

The third benefit is the versatility in that the Ergo can be worn front and back (though small infants should not be worn on the back; if you are using the infant insert, do not put your baby on your back in an Ergo).  If you’re going for a hike or snowshoeing or other outdoor activities, often it’s much easier to carry your infant on the back.  Even just a long walk can be better on the back.  For me, the joy has been the reemergence of the Ergo with my daughter as a toddler (she’s 2 ½).  We recently pulled it out again, and she will now happily go on my back for a good day around town.  (I am aware that wraps can also be used on the back, I just have never figured out how, but also found it even more difficult on top of coats, something that was not an issue with the Ergo.)

Other pros of the Ergo include the pouches to store keys, money, etc.  and the cover for babe.  The cover is a nice cloth piece that can attach at the straps to provide a shaded area for your baby.  While probably not helpful when babe is awake and wanting to look around, it’s great for dimming things if babe is sleeping.

There are, however, some drawbacks worth noting.  First, as suggested at the start, the Ergo is not super comfortable inside.  If you plan on wearing your baby indoors, you will need another wrap that is indoor-friendly.  (Of course, my view is that the more wraps, the better.  Options are good.)  Second, it is bulky to carry around relative to a cloth wrap; however, it is far less bulky than a stroller!  Finally, for us, my daughter ended up unhappy in it when she was quite young and couldn’t see out.  Because the size is what it is, until she was “tall” enough to see out of the top, she was unhappy and often I’d have to take her out and just carry her in my arms.  This lead to the dominant use of the wrap for a period (though her dad always used the Ergo when he wore her) as it could be manipulated so that she could always see out and check out the world around her.

All in all, though, the Ergo is a great outdoor baby carrier.  And if you’re looking at the two big names in outdoor carrying (Ergo versus Bjorn), there is no contest.  The baby-dangling issue alone is enough to make the Ergo a hands-down winner.

What was your experience with the Ergo?  Add your review in the comments below.

[Image credit: ErgoBaby Canada]

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  1. says

    I’ve found the Ergo was great once baby got good head control. I didn’t like the infant insert because it felt uncomfortable for both of us. A wrap was great while they were really small, and I switched to the Ergo once they got that head control.

  2. says

    the ergo is a wonderful carrier for older (4-6months) babies. it’s not suitable for newborns. the manduca is also not suitable for newborns. that said, i loved my ergos (we had 2, because my husband wanted his own carrier and we then tried the manduca but didn’t like it and so decided to buy a 2nd ergo). we sold one and kept the other now that the boy is almost 5. had him in there some weeks ago when he was throwing a fit 😉

  3. Laura says

    What do you think of the Manduca?
    It’s similar to the ergo but it has more ajustability, i.e. longer straps, hiden panel to make it larger.
    But what about the infant upper seat? Would that put the baby in an unideal possition?

  4. Stacy RM says

    My LO was pretty small, even at 4-5 months she couldn’t see that well over the top of the carrier…until I discovered that the cushion from the bottom of the infant insert ws removable and I could put that under her bum to act as a booster for her. She was so much happier!
    Both my husband and I love the Ergo, and we didn’t mind the insert when she was really small, then discovering later that the cushion doubles as a booster was fantastic!

  5. Jonathan says

    The downside to the Ergo for me has been that for my daughter, she is currently in that in-between stage where she is a bit too big for the insert but lacks the head control and size to fit properly in the Ergo without it. So we’re carrierless right now until she grows a bit or we buy something else.

  6. Natalie says

    Can the Ergo be used in a hip carry position also? We are currently using the Boba wrap, but he seems to get annoyed that he has to twist and turn to see what I’m doing. I would like a carrier that gives him more visibility, and I definitely don’t want to face him outward to crotch dangle!

    • says

      It cannot be a side carry, but you can do forward facing on the back so it’s not a hip dangler but babe sees out over your shoulder being strapped in on the back. You may want to borrow an Ergo and see if that works! My daughter was the same and so I used a wrap while she was younger!

  7. Rachel says

    I love my Ergo. I finally broke down and brought one after having bought a Moby, a Mei Tei, and a Ring Sling. My baby’s heavy! 21 lbs and 7 months old and a solid brickhouse. I’m 5’2, 125 lbs. No way I’m tearing my back up hauling this child around. I wear the Ergo in the house. Make sure it’s in the car. I’ve even got Dad to try it out just to prove how helpful it is having her in there. We’re the parents who tend to her closely. Therefore, there was a severe need to find something to alleviate the pain we were experiencing. Yes, I’d prefer the ability to have her face forward, but that’s something I’m willing to forgo for the sake of comfort. All in all, I’m happy I found this baby carrier. It has helped build a great bond between our family and we’re no longer having to rub our muscles down in Tiger Balm before bed at night!

  8. Melissa says

    You convinced me to try the Ergo after no luck with the JJ Cole. I am so happy! My 7 month old FELL ASLEEP after 5 minutes in the Ergo. I am still working on the back and hip positions because I find it hard to adjust the straps, but just the front position is worth it for me. Thanks for writing this review!

    • says

      I’m so glad it worked! Obviously kids will react differently to different carriers, but when you find one that works – it’s amazing!

  9. jamie says

    I love the ergo but my 7 month old doesnt it always leaves red marks on her legs i dont really like how her butt sinks into it and her legs are spread so far apart seems like they would fall alseep. It is so much more comfy for me but she likes the bjorn we switch it up though we have a wrap to

  10. jayne says

    I love my ergo. I have the organic version and I think it is worth shelling out the extra $40, its so soft and comfy for myself and my daughter, also I find it much easier to wrap up and carry around when not in use than the non organic cotton. We used the moby when she was younger and moved onto the ergo at 10 months so I dont have experience with her using it as a younger baby; She stopped wanting to use it for a few months, she is 2 1/2 now and we are using it again and it is a life saver for those toddler moments. She loves the security of being close to me when she needs it and I love that I can get things done and get a little bit of exercise in there. She is 27lbs and 3 feet tall, I am 110 and 5 feet tall and it is still extremely comfortable.

    Last year at my brother in laws wedding, I brought my ergo and we danced all night and she slept in it towards the end of the night for a few hours and I was not feeling fatigued or sore at all.

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